The answer? Turn off your bleepin’ phone. Be present. It’s as simple as that, your life will instantly be more enjoyable. Social media can be great and wonderful, especially when it comes to your business. I’ve seen how successful clients have been with their social media accounts with consistency, posting quality content, being REAL, and responsive. Social media can also be great for you know, sharing photos of your adorable children (or dogs), catching up with long distance friends and being SOCIAL. But lately I’ve been slightly turned off by social media. To be more specific, by the content people are sharing on social and the ways they are using the platforms. And apparently I am not alone.

Last week I attended the Midwest Digital Media Conference at Union Station in St. Louis. It was a great opportunity to sit in seminars with some outstanding speakers and socialize with other likeminded individuals. But I was honestly struggling with the people who attended this event and their behavior. I manage social media accounts for dozens of clients and think it’s safe to call myself a “social media guru”.  But the reality is after sitting on Facebook and Twitter for hours for clients, I want nothing to do with it. I rarely post on my own Facebook, it’s kind of a ghost town. And I don’t think it’s necessary for the whole world to know every aspect of my personal life or what I had for lunch. So it takes me pretty off guard when I see people live streaming, Snapchatting, or Instagramming, every aspect of their life. And in this particular instance, every moment of the conference.

I actually had a woman sitting next to me who was switching from live streaming on Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat and posting photos on Instagram, all during a presentation. Half way through when she was writing a description on her Instagram photo she turned to me and asked, “what was her name and who does she work for?” Ummm… we’ve been sitting here, listening to this woman speak for 30 minutes and you don’t know who is speaking? Because she was not present. She was not in the moment.

Sure, I’ve been that person at a concert or show who takes a photo or a quick 30 second video. I get that, I understand wanting to remember the moment. But if you’re on your phone the entire time, the memory that you will have is of that photo, not of the event. The whole point of social media is to be SOCIAL, and when you are in a social situation and blocking out those around you, social media is not your friend, it has become your crutch.

As a business, the #1 reason people buy from you is because of the people. The humans. And if the humans are not being social and real, you are turning off your customers. This can be said for social media as well. If you’re not being real with people and producing content they want to see, you are pushing them away.

Moral of the story: be present. Be in the moment. Social media is great for making plans with friends, catching up with acquaintances, staying up to date with brands and companies, and yes, the occasional funny cat video. But don’t let it take over your life and ruin the moment. Put down your phone and use social media wisely, and I’m sure you will not only be happier, but your Facebook friends and fans will thank you.

Article written by

account coordinator/social media strategist/Harry Potter magic wielder